If a girl stays in school, remains happy and healthy, and gains skills, she will marry later, have fewer, healthier children, and earn an income that she will invest back into her family to end generational poverty. Investing in the economic potential of girls by giving them access to quality education and healthcare, and helping each one feel empowered and in control of her own life, can break the cycle of generational poverty.
It is important to define the difference between situational and generational poverty. Any household or individual can fall into situational poverty from loss of employment, sickness or other circumstances. However, generational poverty is a pervasive culture that is passed on from parents to children, and a much harder problem to solve. There is a sense of hopelessness that needs to be addressed, and the entire family needs to be involved in the process.
The great news is that there are 250 million solutions across the world. Girls. If we listen to them and address their needs, we can make the impossible, possible. We can end generational poverty – forever. Girls living in poverty are uniquely capable of creating a better future for themselves, their families, their communities and the world.
People assume that girls are being reached through programs for women and youth. The truth is, they’re not. 99% of international aid is NOT directed specifically at girls. Children’s programs are often focused on early childhood education and youth programs generally focus on males. Women’s programs don’t typically include adolescent girls, which means their unique needs are not being addressed. To effectively lift entire families out of generational poverty we must invest in programs designed specifically for girls.
“Investing in women is smart economics, and investing in girls, catching them upstream, is even smarter economics.” Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Managing Director, The World Bank
Investing in the education, health and empowerment of a girl today means that she will have the tools to make smart choices that will better the lives of her boys and girls in the future. She will reinvest 90% of her income back into her family and her community, making her the most influential figure in today’s world. If you want to end poverty and help the developing world, the best thing you can do is invest time, energy, and funding into adolescent girls. It’s called the Girl Effect, and the revolution begins with her.
Want more facts? Download The Girl Effect Fact Sheet.